Oct. 31, 2014 – A third-year student at the University of Houston Law Center who has spent years working with underprivileged children and public service legal agencies is the winner of the 2014 Law Student Pro Bono Award sponsored by the Texas Access to Justice Commission.
“This award came as a complete surprise,” said Lauren “Addie” Fisher Flores. “I had no idea Professor (Janet) Heppard had nominated me for it and I'm thrilled to be chosen.” She will receive her award and a $2,000 stipend at the New Lawyer Induction Ceremony Nov. 17 in Austin.
“I am deeply committed to a career in public interest work as an advocate for children and families,” Fisher said. “I look forward to continued public service throughout my law school career, and rejoining the public interest legal field after graduating.”
In a letter notifying Fisher about the honor, the commission wrote: “This award recognizes a law student whose pro bono work has made a significant impact on the community and reflects a passion for advocating on behalf of underserved populations. The commission recognizes your commitment to the provision of legal services to the poor as truly extraordinary.”
“I nominated Addie because, even during the short time she has been in our Civil Clinic, she has shown her commitment to making sure everyone, even those unable to pay, are afforded access to our justice system,” said Heppard, Associate Professor of Clinical Practice and Director of the Law Center’s clinics.
Prior to law school, Fisher worked for six years as a project coordinator with the American Bar Association’s ProBAR Children’s Project in Harlingen where she helped underserved families gain access to legal and other resources in their communities. She previously taught school in a rural community in Honduras and organized a family literacy program.
At the Law Center, Fisher has served as president of the Public Interest Law Organization, worked as a Rosenberg Child Advocacy Scholarfor theCenter for Children, Law & Policy, and is currently a student attorney in the Civil Practice Clinic. She recently traveled to the Karnes Family Detention Center with other students to help screen detained families in need of legal immigration services.
Fisher also has clerked with the Family Law Section of the Mexican Foreign Ministry in Mexico City and the Office of the Public Advocate in Phoenix, AZ, where she worked mainly on juvenile justice issues.
The Texas Access to Justice Commission is an independent body created by the Texas Supreme Court in 2001 to develop and initiate programs to provide legal services and insure justice for low-income people.